What Happened to Work/Life Balance?

When I talked to my friend after my layoff, she told me about something her father said when he retired. He gave countless hours to make the companies he worked for successful.  He gave a lot of himself and spent a lot of time on the road.  Upon his retirement, he reflected about how most of the companies were no longer in business.

Now this thought can really mess with your mind if you let it.  I was born at the end of the baby boomer generation.  We were taught loyalty – brand and company.  We created the workaholics and the superwomen.  I was taught you work hard, do whatever it takes, give extra and in return you get security.  Security gave way to profitability and growth.  (It’s all very interesting if you research the Veterans, the Baby Boomers, and Generations X, Y, Z.  It really does help you understand the dynamic of the workplace.)

As I am starting a new job search, I look back at all the places I have worked in my career.  Some of them still exist, of course, such as the Air Force.  But most companies have been bought out, gone out of business, realigned, downsized, resized or gone bankrupt.  I am fighting how much more I am willing to give companies that still may not outlast me!  Of course I need a job and will continue the search, but it makes you stop and think.  It makes you question your motives and think about the quality of your life.

Unfortunately in our economy, having a job still almost always equals having health care.  That’s a big one.  One you can’t get away from.  It’s the hook that keeps people like me from just retiring early.  Ahhhh, wouldn’t that be nice.

So, I will continue to put in countless hours going out and trying to sell myself.  I will fill out application after application and fight about how to handle the illegal questions.  If I leave them blank (which I should) my application may just end up in the round file.  I will struggle with how much of my time I give to the work of finding a job and how many pages and pages of documents I fill out in such strange formats that cutting and pasting is not an option.

I hope some of the Generation X, Y and Z’s out there, come to business with fresh ideas where loyalty is balanced between what you give the company and what you give your family.

This thought process also leads me down the road of crafting a new life for myself and daring to believe I can work just as hard for me and not give my essence away.  I will still be here at the end of my life.  The batting average for the companies I have worked for thus far, not so good.

I’m attracted to stopping and smelling the roses for a change….


4 thoughts on “What Happened to Work/Life Balance?

  1. I don’t know about balance, but I am learning that when I work OT for myself, I’m more appreciated than when I do it for someone else.

  2. The sad fact is that most people spend the largest part of their lives doing work that they are not passionate about. Most people work to support a family and do not have the luxury of being fussy about the work they do. What would the world look like if everyone loved their work? Paradise…

    Being an artist, an artist who follows a path uneffected by the marketplace, but guided by the artist’s own dreams, emotions, ideas and inclinations, is my idea of an ideal job. Unfortunately, an artist who ignores the marketplace runs the risk of being very hungry.

    Years ago, I took a night class in Memphis taught by a working illustrator. It was his opinion that the only way one could work as an artist and remain true to oneself was to marry a professional with a good steady income. ( His wife who was working as a hairdresser was going back to school to become a lawyer.)

    Maggie, I know you have the soul of an artist and could easily spend the rest of your life making the world a richer place with your art. I hope you can find a job that lets you use these skills in a free and satisfying way. (Otherwise you will just have to go to Plan B and win the lottery. 🙂
    Good luck! Courage!!!

  3. sweetest magcindy,
    very saddened was i to read of your sister’s passing 😦
    i can only imagine how difficult it must be to lose someone
    that was so deeply a part of you ~
    please take comfort in those beautiful memories you cherished
    together – i also want to make sure you know how much your
    thoughts & reflections have always enriched my world 🙂
    time will slowly heal your heart – meantime, take care
    of yourself & know there will be better days
    [you realize i feel silly making these comments,
    as you absolutely are suffused with such wisdom yourself]
    > my thoughts will you & family for the health of your
    sister bj … she is fortunate to have you as a sibling,

    i wish there was still reason to BE on myspace: hope
    springs eternal.
    {nope, will never ever forgive facebook for sucking away all
    my frens!}

    so thanks for surprising me with the handwritten note!
    i never feel too far from my (virtual) mmb pals, despite
    distance & updates being rare: delighted to know where
    to find you online now!
    (> having just read a few entries …) i rejoice that you
    continue to be strong, sensitive & hard at work making the best
    of circumstances + sharing the process & insights for the
    rest of us – your words & feelings have been precious
    to me – i never wanted to dwell on what i missed!!

    lastly, i’m sorry your job is no longer “there” for your energy
    & fulfillment ~ no doubt, you will find ways to make up for
    that loss; maybe simply appreciate more leisure pursuits!
    my boss of 3 years just got laid off monday, too. i will miss
    her & have a good sense of how many MORE wonderful & talented people
    there are now yearning for a chance to be meaningfully employed

    otherwise, my routine has been uneventful but stable since we last
    chatted: next week we will treat ourselves to a week in california,
    due to bargain airfares & hotels, even, have not been able to
    demand more than i will affford!

    do have a good weekend & thanks again for keeping in touch,

    gen 🙂

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